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German 700 MHz auction attracts 3 bidders

German 700 MHz auction attracts 3 bidders

The German spectrum auction for in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,500 MHz, and 1,800 MHz bands will start on 27 May of this year with the three participants: Telekom Deutschland, Vodafone Germany and Telefonica Deutschland, according to an announcement of the German network regulator BNA. The participants are all already active as mobile network operator in Germany. BNA president Jochen Homann expects that one of the results of the auction to be a speedier roll-out and more coverage of mobile broadband in Germany’s rural regions. The total spectrum in the auction amounts to 270 MHz. 

This includes 2×30 MHz in the 700 MHz band that was used for DVB-T TV services and which is being freed up by deploying DVB-T2 technology instead. The spectrum will be split into lots, each lot consisting of two paired blocks of 5 MHz in the 700 MHz band. Minimum bids will be based on fees set in 2013, namely EUR 75 million per lot. The 700 MHz licences will include additional conditions which include the obligation of nationwide (98%) coverage of at least 10 Mbps mobile broadband services with at least 95 percent of all states and 99 percent of all city states covered as well as 100 percent of the federal highways and ICE train tracks. If these conditions are not reached within three years after the start of the licence, a deployment obligation will be enforced with a reasonable time-frame.

The 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz spectrum are currently in use for GSM services. To protect the current infrastructure, BNA has set a cap of 2×15 MHz per provider (3 blocks) with a minimal bid of EUR 75 million for the 900 MHz band. A 1,800 MHz block has a minimum of EUR 37.5 million and a 1,500 MHz block is to cost at least EUR 18.75 million. The licences will be technology-free and valid until 31 December 2031. This auction is the second multiband auction in five years, following the auction in 2010 that included 800 MHz and ended with a yield of EUR 4.385 billion.

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